Purpose: Audiology is an essential service for some patient groups and some interventions. This article sets forth experience-based recommendations for how audiological centers can continue to safely and effectively function during COVID-19.
Methods: The recommendations are the result of panel discussion and are based on the clinical experience of the panelists/authors.
Results: The recommendations cover which patient groups and which interventions should be treated when and whether this can be performed in the clinic or remotely; how to maintain the safety of workplace via optimizing patient flow within the clinic and the sanitation of rooms and equipment; and overcoming communication challenges that COVID-19 intensifies.
Conclusion: For essential audiological services to continue under COVID-19, safety measures must be implemented and maintained, and treatment and communication strategies must be adapted to offset communication difficulties due to personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing and to bolster patient confidence. In short, it is vital that staff feel safe, that patients either feel the clinic is safe enough to visit or that remote treatment may be an option, and that clinics and patients have a broad agreement on the urgency of any needed service. We hope that these recommendations help clinics effectively accomplish these goals.
Keywords: Audiological services; COVID-19; Cochlear implant; Hearing aid; Remote care/telehealth; Triage.
© 2021. The Author(s).